Click on the image to follow the rest of Kat's tour and a chance for more prizes!
Before we begin the Q&A, here's Kat's BIO:
A notorious daydreamer, Kat knew it was only a matter of time before she became a writer. She learned to read by age four and had her first library card before her fifth birthday. To this day, she can lose herself for hours among the books at her local library or neighborhood bookstore.
Painfully shy and often sick as a child, Kat realized that as long as she had a good book, she was never alone or lonely. Making the leap from reading to making up stories, Kat has entertained friends and family almost all of her life with the stories that play in her mind.
A native of Richmond, Virginia, she is married with children and has a cranky tuxedo cat. Kat is also a member of Romance Writers of America, International ThrillerWriters and Sisters in Crime.
Louise: Kat, welcome to my blog! I’m so excited you could join me for a chat. When did you first decide to submit your work to be published? Tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.
Kat: Hi, Louise. It’s a pleasure to be here with you today. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer. In August of 2000, my dear mother passed away. She had always encouraged me to pursue my writing dreams. I was so sorry I hadn’t written a novel while she was alive. I decided if she had believed so clearly in my abilities, I should pull out all of the stops and go for it.
Early in 2001, I got serious about my writing. I took classes, both online and at a local university. I joined writers groups and immersed myself in learning the craft. Learning is a lot of fun, and my basic belief is that if you stop learning, you die bit by bit. You’ve got to keep interested in life and pursue your passion. And writing is definitely a passion of mine.
Louise: Please tell us a little about your new release Your Eight O’clock is Dead without giving too much of a spoiler away.
Kat: Your Eight O’Clock Is Dead is a humorous mystery featuring a lovable screw-up, Becca Reynolds. After a divorce, Becca is back home living with her widowed grandfather and his cranky cat. She’s 5 months into a 6 month probation working for a fledgling psychiatric practice and having a few problems with punctuality and making the doctors happy with her performance. The patients, ER, clients adore her and seem to spill their problems to her with ease. It’s one of her gifts and talents. She’s good with people. But when she discovers the 8 o’clock patient murdered in the reception area, she knows that her job, the firm and even her life could be in jeopardy. Without too much provocation, Becca enters into her own investigation to solve the murder, save her job and maybe find a little romance in the process of her investigation.
Louise: Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?
Kat: I started out being a major pantser. I’d come up with a cool idea or an interesting ‘what if’ and off I’d go. LOL. Yeah, that worked well for me. Not.
Over the years I’ve tried plotting by many methods and found that all of the preplanning basically sucked the life out of my story and my characters. So I’m more of a hybrid mixing the two - I call myself a pantser.
I start out with knowing quite a bit about my main characters and then I develop a few supporting characters that I don’t know as well. The main characters will still hold out on me and have secrets that they eventually reveal to me and to each other. The supporting characters are always surprising me. So I guess the answer to your question is that I do start out with knowing the characters, but they develop as I write, too. It keeps me interested and keeps the characters fresh.
Louise: How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?
Kat: I can get lost in research for hours and hours. In fact, a few years ago I took a 12 week intensive citizen’s police academy course here in Richmond where I learned how our local police operate. They had me go on a mock traffic stop in the dark, fire weapons, drive a police car through an obstacle course, participate in a high speed chase, and cuff a pretend criminal, as well as a lot of classroom time. All of these things I’ve put in my writer’s toolkit. This year, I’ve was lucky enough to attend Lee Lofland’s Writers Police Academy, which I highly recommend to any writer who writes about law enforcement or has characters in law enforcement.
During one session at the Writers Police Academy, I had a light bulb moment about Max Chernov and R.J. Ryder, the two hunky guys in my book. This revelation then led to a large chunk of the story for book 4 - as yet untitled - in the series. I jotted down my ideas fast and furiously and then that night in the hotel room, I fleshed it out and then brought it back to my brainstorming partners and presented it to them. Very cool how that worked out.
Louise: What is your writing process? Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants (Pantser) or a combination of both?
Kat: Oops, I already answered this above. Always jumping ahead. Definitely a combination of the two - a pantser. *smiles*
Louise: Do you write full time? What did you do before you became a writer or still do?
Kat: I do try to write full time, but it doesn’t always work out that way. I also do medical billing and consider that a part-time job. In my working past, I’ve done customer service, suicide intervention, corporate and medical management and many things in between. A wealth of experience. But writing is still my first love.
Louise: Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen, laptop and a comfy place.
Kat: I really don’t have any specific rituals, but I found this great mug at Barnes & Noble. On one side is On Duty. The reverse side shows Off Duty. When I sit down in my recliner with my laptop, I make sure the mug shows with the On Duty side facing out. And I always have a big glass of water on my side table. Once I have these things, I’m good to go.
Louise: Describe a typical writing day for you.
Kay: Get up, eat breakfast and write. Pretty simple, actually. I try hard to get the writing done first. It doesn’t always work out that way, but that’s the plan. I stay with it until I don’t have any words left for the day. I try for a minimum of 3 pages a day, but between 5 and 7 pages is my normal. Once I have my page count, then I’m free to work on other writing-related things. I try to stay current on industry news, continuing education through online classes, answer any reader mail and anything else relevant (blogging, facebook, twitter, etc.).
Louise: Please give us a sneak peek at your future books. What’s on the horizon?
Kat: I’m currently working on book 2 in the River City Mystery series. It’s entitled Your Time Is Up and has Becca up to her eyeballs in more murders connected to Daley & Palmer clients. That book is followed by Your Lights Are Out where the victim is found with a set of Christmas tree lights wrapped around their neck.
I hope to deepen the relationships between the characters throughout the series. Right now I have an idea of how I want to end the series, but that’s subject to change. I have plans for somewhere between 6-9 books, but the characters will let me know when they’re done.
Louise: What is your favorite genre to read and who is your favorite author?
Kat: I love to read mysteries and suspense, but I read all over the map. As to who my favorite author is, that’s tough. Really tough. I loved the early Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum books and am intensely flattered that my book has been compared to those works. I enjoy Elaine Viets tremendously. I have so many favorites it’s hard to pick just one. Elizabeth George, Linda Fairstein, Lisa Scottoline, Joseph Finder, Harlan Coben. I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here.
Louise: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers we have not touched on?
Kat: No, I think we’ve covered quite a bit. Thank you so much for having me as your guest today. It’s been fun to chat with you.
Louise: Where can the readers learn more about you and find your books on the web?
Kat: I’m everywhere. LOL. And I’d love to hear from everyone.
My Web site
My book is available on Amazon
Barnes & Noble
and on Smashwords
Louise: Kat, thank you again for visiting with me!
Reader's, Kat is giving away a copy of Your Eight O'Clock is Dead to one lucky commenter through random draw. The comments will close Jan 16 at 11 pm PST. The book will be available in e-book format choice with a Smashwords coupon for the winner. The drawing will be held Jan 17. Please be sure to include your email address in you comment! This helps me contact the winner in a timely manner.
Becca Reynolds is having a bad day. Her grandfather’s lecture (#405: Eat a Healthy Diet or Die Not Trying) makes her late for her job at Daley and Palmer, the psychiatrists' office where she works as the office manager—her title, not theirs. Then her sausage and egg breakfast biscuit creates an oil slick that takes out half her desk, along with that day’s patient files. But she knows the day has taken a really bad turn when she discovers the firm’s eight o’clock patient dead with Dr. Dick Daley’s letter opener opening the patient instead of the mail.
With the fledgling firm in danger of an early demise, Becca appoints herself the unofficial investigator since the police seem to be looking in all the wrong places and doing a half-assed job of solving the crime. She begins a journey to find the killer, keep the practice afloat and with it, her job. In the course of her interfere—er, investigation—she finds a virtual cast of characters who could have done it, including the fancy side piece of the murder victim, his wife, his business partner, and even his psychiatrist.
The case takes Becca from the sordid depths of the Russian mob, to the upscale West End of Richmond, Virginia (known locally as River City), and even to her own backyard. In the course of the story she finds herself in hot water, hot danger, and with dreams of hot men.